Here are some of the teams that I believe were snubbed by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee:
Snub 1: Illinois- The Illini were 19-14 this season, including a 10-8 record in the Big 10 Conference. In addition, the Illini won 5 games against the RPI Top 100, including wins over Clemson (7 seed), Vanderbilt (4 seed), Wisconsin twice (4 seed), and Michigan State (5 seed). The team also took Ohio State to double overtime in the semifinals of the Big 10 tournament. 2 early bad losses are the factors that hurt their resume most, but the big wins should have been enough to get the Illini in the tournament.
Team that Illinois should replace: Utah State- The Aggies have 1 good win this year, and that was against BYU. With almost no out of conference schedule strength (and no in-conference strength either), the Aggies do not deserve an at large bid. With losses to Northeastern, Louisiana Tech, Long Beach State, Utah, Saint Mary’s, and New Mexico State twice, Utah State has no resume and doesn’t deserve to be close to the NCAA tournament.
Snub 2: Seton Hall- The Pirates were not directly on the bubble entering Selection Sunday, but the team is more than deserving of a bid. The team has beaten Notre Dame, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Cornell this year, which are all tournament teams. The Pirates have an impressive strength of schedule, and 7 of its 12 losses have come to ranked teams. In addition, 11 of its 12 losses came against NCAA tournament teams. The only loss to a non-tournament team was South Florida, who until 2 weeks ago was a bubble team. 4 wins against tournament teams, a 10-10 record in the Big East, no bad losses, and 11 of 12 losses against tournament teams. That should be more than good enough, and the selection committee has to look past the fact that the Big East already has 8 teams in the tournament. That statistic has nothing to do with anything, and Seton Hall got wrongly snubbed for this feeling among the committee.
Team that should replace: UTEP- The Miners haven’t beaten anyone this year. The Miners haven’t beaten either an at-large touranament team or an automatic qualifier that would have been an at-large team anyway. That is simply not good enough. You have to beat somebody, and the Miners haven’t.
Teams that were NOT snubbed (contrary to the belief of some):
Team 1: Mississippi State- The Bulldogs had few big wins, as wins over Old Dominion and Mississippi twice highlighted the regular season for the team. That isn’t enough. Mississippi State made an impressive run through the SEC tournament, beating Florida and Vanderbilt before losing by 1 point in overtime to Kentucky in the final. However, the lack of big wins puts the Bulldogs behind Seton Hall and Illinois in my book, although I do believe the team has a much better resume than Utah State and UTEP. Therefore, in my tournament, the Bulldogs would be the first team out.
“But Mississippi State beat Florida in the SEC tournament and has a better record. Why not put them in over Florida?”
Florida has a much better resume. With wins over Florida State, Michigan State, Tennessee, and Mississippi State itself throughout the regular season, Florida is much more deserving of a bid than Mississippi State even considering the late win by Mississippi State against Florida in the SEC tournament. In addition, the Gators had a much more difficult out of conference schedule than the Bulldogs.
Team 2: Virginia Tech- The Hokies have a good record overall and in conference, but a lack of out of conference schedule strength and a lack of big wins cost the Hokies. The team has 3 wins over NCAA tournament teams and no wins over ranked teams. That simply is not enough. However, I still would have put the Hokies in over teams such as Utah State and UTEP, because the schedule strength for the Hokies is better than that of UTEP and Utah State.
Team 3: Rhode Island- The Rams haven’t played anyone either. The team has only 1 win all year over a tournament team, which was against Oklahoma State. Rhode Island didn’t convert in any of its opportunities against Temple, Richmond, or Xavier in the Atlantic 10. That isn’t even close to enough, and the Rams do not deserve a bid.